Ardwick Heritage Trail

Holy Name Church

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holy name church manchesterIn the sixteenth century the Spanish saint, Ignatius of Loyola founded an order called the Society of Jesus or Jesuits, who were a powerful force for the reform of the Catholic Church. They often built large churches in cities where their influence could be effective through preaching, the confessional and parochial work. They were invited to come to Manchester by the Bishop of Salford, Rt. Rev. William Turner in the late 1860’s. The foundation stone of the Holy Name was laid in 1869 and the church opened on 15th October, 1871.

The architect was a favourite of the Jesuits, Joseph Aloysius Hansom, the inventor of the cab that bears his name. The church he designed is 14th century French Gothic in style, but the plan is typical of a Jesuit city church – a broad nave, prominent pulpit and a short sanctuary with the altar near and in full view of the congregation. It is 186ft. from east to west, 112ft. from north to south and 100ft. from the floor to the inside of the vault.

The structure is brick faced inside with moulded terracotta and outside with Warwick Bridge stone. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in his introduction to the ‘South Lancashire’ volume of his ‘Buildings of England’ series wrote that the Holy Name ‘is a design of the very highest quality and of an originality nowhere demonstrative… Hansom never again did so marvellous a church.’

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